FTSE 100 finishes higher, ECB on hold, GBP weak, Ethereum at record high

© Reuters.

Key Points

  • FTSE 100 closing price of 6,937.26, +0.61%
  • ECB makes no changes to monetary policy
  • GBP weak, flash PMIs tomorrow
  • Nat Gas higher after storage data
  • Ethereum reaches all-time high

By Samuel Indyk

Investing.com – The finished Thursday’s session in the green, once again supported by some travel and leisure stocks. British Airways parent IAG (LON:) rose over 2% and jet engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce (LON:) also posted solid gains as evidence continues to suggest vaccines are working to reduce the spread of Covid-19. Late yesterday, Ryanair (LON:) CEO Michael O’Leary was also update about the future of business travel, saying he expects corporate travel to return to pre-pandemic levels by 2022.

BAE Systems (LON:) was the worst performing stock in the blue-chip index after the company was facing increased criticism for raising its CEO’s pay packet by £2mln. Institutional Shareholder Services has joined another shareholder advisory group, Glass Lewis, in recommending shareholders vote against the remuneration report.

Unsurprisingly, the made no changes to monetary policy and the press conference from President Lagarde was a relatively dull affair.

“The ECB meeting concluded today was not a ‘significant’ meeting, with no new signals leaving many decisions for the June meeting,” analysts at Danske Bank said in an emailed research note. “Near term growth outlook was ’tilted to the downside’ while the medium term growth risk was ‘broadly balanced’. The latter has paved the way for a lower PEPP volume to be agreed at the June meeting.”

Dutch bank ING described the latest gathering by the ECB as a “meeting to forget”.

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had pushed higher in early trade but found resistance at 1.3950 and retreated as markets look ahead to tomorrow’s key data releases. Firstly at 07:00BST, the Office for National Statistics releases data and then IHS Markit’s flash PMI surveys for April are released at 09:30BST.

and crude futures were trending higher amid fears of a supply drop from crisis-torn OPEC member Libya. The National Oil Corporation of Libya said production had fallen to 1mln barrels per day from 1.3mln barrels per day and warned it could fall further due to budgetary issues. were trading higher after the Energy Information Administration announced a smaller storage build than expected.

was lower, trading below $55,000, while popular cryptocurrency also retreated below $0.30 after hitting $0.42 earlier this week. The second-largest cryptocurrency by market-cap, , was the outperformer in the space, hitting an all-time high above $2,600 and reaching a market cap of over $300bln. According to Susannah Streeter, senior investment and market analysts at Hargreaves Lansdown (LON:), the currency’s gains are being fuelled by chatter across internet forums.

Of note for the space, Turkish cryptocurrency exchange went dark recently, leaving its almost 400,000 customers with no access to their assets and funds stored there. The exchange said they were temporarily down due to outside investment but there are fears that the CEO has disappeared and investors may be fearing the worst.

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